The Commonwealth at York

You don’t need an enormous yard and acres of fresh soil to grow a functional vegetable garden at home. In fact, starting a patio garden in a small space is a great place to start for beginner gardeners or for anyone with a tight schedule for tending to it.

If you’ve never started a garden, much less a patio garden, here are simple and effective ways to get started. From the containers you’ll need to the best plants for patio or balcony gardening, we’ve got ideas to get you going.

Bright Light
Vegetable plants need roughly 6-8 hours of bright sunlight a day, and choosing a patio spot with direct sunlight is key. Take time to really evaluate where to best place your containers before you even begin. Once you know where you’d like to put them, think about how much space you have and how many containers you can fit comfortably in the space.

Water, Water, Water
Vegetable plants need consistent and frequent watering. In hot, summer months, you’ll need to pay extra attention to how much water they’re getting to keep them healthy. Make sure to place your containers so that they’re easy to water. You won’t want to be resistant to this portion of their care due to inconvenience.

Choose Your Sizes Wisely
When choosing what to grow, consider a mix of large and small plants, and pay attention to the tags on your plants to ensure that they don’t grow too large for the containers you choose. Tomato plants can be quite large, while pepper plants are small and can be potted and tucked just about anywhere on your patio. A mix of small and large containers can help you maximize your small space and take advantage of sunny corners.

Colorful Combining
To give your patio garden color and dimension, try combining plants of the same species into one, large pot. For example, growing multiple species of peppers can yield a beautiful, colorful harvest in a large pot, and it’ll keep your watering and storage process streamlined and simple.

Harvest Often
Once your veggies start producing, harvest as often as possible to promote growth. You’ll need to harvest salad greens once a week. Watch your cucumbers and tomatoes for color and size. When your garden is in full bloom, you’ll want to keep a close eye on it from day to day to be sure that you grab items as soon as they ripen.